Little Lies Cause Huge Consequences
Every day, patients come and go through the doors of hospitals where they can find hope for treatment, healing, and gentle care from the physicians. When patients enter to get treatment in the hospital, there is a sense of trust in the doctors and that the doctors are highly equipped for the job. Not only are the physicians are skilled in the medical field through vigorous studies and training but the hospitals in America today have advanced technologies, enabling doctors to do intensive research, use high-tech equipment, and provide effective diagnosis for patients.
With all of these privileges that hospitals have in America, these physicians can do great things to help people like curing sicknesses that haven’t been cured before through the discovery of new medicine and understanding of science we have today. But there is a problem that can prevent physicians from working sufficiently. Lies.
Ideally, patients would enter the hospital or doctor’s office and describe exactly how they feel and answer the doctor’s questions truthfully so it can be easier for the doctors to figure out the problem, and make the right decisions. However, the process typically is more complicated than that because most patients tend to bend the truth in their answers, which may lead to wrong decisions from doctors, wrong prescription of medicine, and confusion.
For instance, in Dr. Val Jones’s “Why Do Patients Lie To Doctors?” he writes about an experience with a patient who had a serious condition of brain damage and the doctor wanted to figure out the cause. Dr. Val Jones asked the patient if she had consumed any drugs and alcohol and she denied it, causing the Dr. Val Jones think of possible errors like the neurology had missed something when they tested her. Another confusing factor is her signs and symptoms were showing that she did consume alcohol. The doctored looked further into the patient’s urine toxicology screen and had to confirm with the patients repeatedly if she had ever consumed any alcohol and drugs. Since Dr. Val Jones did not have clarity at the moment, he feared that he could make a decision that could harm the patient or even take her life like the other doctors he has heard of who was not careful enough. Dr. Val Jones had to ask her again and again until finally when the doctor showed how serious the impairment was, she confessed that she did consume alcohol.
Through this situation we can see the confusion in doctors in their decisions, we can see their worries for another person’s life, also how everyone who was involved in her care was affected too like the neurology team. The doctor had to spend extra time investing in the other data when the solution to the patients problem could have come to pass if only she told the truth.
Unfortunately, this situation where patients lie is common in hospitals. According to a survey, 77% of healthcare professions say that “one-fourth or more of their patients omit facts or lie to them about their personal health.” In Sumathi Reddy’s article, “‘I Don’t Smoke, Doc,’ and Other Patient Lies,” Sumathi shows how physicians of all kinds, from cardiologist to dentist experience patients lying to them when the results say otherwise. For instance, people will lie about their flossing routine when the dentist could easily tell how much they floss by the measurements of the gums in each visit. Other common lies in a hospital setting is the exaggerate their issue for more attention, which Dr. Val Jones like to call “million dollar work up.” A million dollar work up is when patients over exaggerate to experience ongoing concern because it may be the only chance where they may feel this way. “If she admitted to drug use, then the only people who seemed to care about her (sadly, even if it was mostly because she could make a “great case for Grand Rounds”) would probably turn their backs”(Jones 1).
Additionally, people may exaggerate their condition for benefits. There have been some cases where patients have claimed to have a disability for benefits. It is also possible to obtain affordable health insurance also may receive secondary gain for hiding health concerns from their doctors, knowing that future insurers will review the doctor’s records according to William Morgan’s “Why Do Patients Lie to Their Doctors.”Furthermore, a patient who exaggerates symptoms may get an appointment sooner than if he or she tells the truth. ==Patients may provoke their doctors to order more extensive diagnostic procedures. They may lie to obtain secondary gain, to protect their careers or to acquire affordable health insurance.
While some patients exaggerate, others minimize to keep their actions in secrecy and procedures minimized. An example would be trying to hide the usage of alcohol if it could affect employment or going to jail. Medical records could be needed by employers, companies, and military opportunities. Therefore, people want to keep their medical history clean.
However, not all patients think that way. WedMD surveyed their readers and found that http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=46985&page=2 majority of the people lie simply because they do not want to feel judged my the doctors. They want doctors to see them as more disciplined as they really are so they can feel good about themselves and not feel shamed or guilty.
As small as the lie can be, it can lead to big consequences. People do not realize the power they in the treatment they get. many people think because the doctor is skilled in the medical field that he can figure symptoms and diagnosis. But when it comes to treatment it truly requires the teamwork of both parties because doctors are, well, human. Therefore, it is clear that the communication between doctors and patients is essential in the kind of treatment the patient get, whether it is efficient or not.
Communication between the physicians and the patient play a huge part because with that communication, it helps the doctors make decisions and figure out how to help the patient. According to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the benefits of effective communication is that “the patient and physician have developed a ‘partnership’ and the patient has been fully educated in the nature of his or her condition and the different methods to address the problem.” By forming this partnership, patients will have more of a say of what they want, which has shown more satisfactory. Studies by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons show that a more effective partnerships include doctors who are good listeners and the patient’s communication skills. Furthermore, with good communication between the doctors and patients, it will be made clear between the doctors and patients what to expect, the goals, and what is going on in the processes of the care.
An argument to why patients are not communicating truthfully could be because it is the doctor’s fault for not making them comfortable enough.
incidents where white lies of the patients cause confusion and major complications in the procedures have been so common and happens to so many healthcare professionals that they could have at least figure out a way to avoid making those mistakes over and over again. There is a clear problem where patients are not comfortable enough to tell the truth, why not address that problem? Patients shouldn’t take up all of the blame if they are uncomfortable and unaware of how important their input is. Therefore, it should be the doctor’s responsibility to make patients feel open enough and pull information out of patients to get the most accurate information. In addition, doctors should let it be known to the patients the consequences of not telling the honest truth so that patients can be more careful.
Steps doctors can take to improve the patient’s care is taking the time to develop a friendly, laid back relationship with the patients and establish trust.
Though doctors often do not get honest replies from patients, resulting in unnecessary procedures and mistakes, it is time for doctors to step up and improve their performance by working harder to form an honest partnership with patients.
However, the decision of telling the truth is still unchangeably up to the patient. Doctors can try all they want to create a comfortable atmosphere but it does not guarantee honestly from patients, some patients will still hold firm to their privacy or even continue to strive to lie for manipulation to get what they want.
Therefore, there is nothing the doctors can do to stop patients from lying.
Ultimately, people are unaware of the power they wield in helping the doctors diagnose them and so we find that people lie to their healthcare providers more tan they should for a variety of reasons from fear of judgment to benefits. Therefore it is important for doctors to continue to inform patients the consequences of lying and power that patients have in their treatment.